‘No way you can leave him out’: Thomas Tuchel hints that 28-year-old will start tonight for Chelsea against Leeds

Thomas Tuchel has potentially delivered some early Chelsea team news ahead of tonight’s clash with Leeds United.

As quoted by the 5th Stand, Tuchel revealed that it would be pretty much impossible to drop Romelu Lukaku following his exploits last weekend.

Lukaku enjoyed a rare and long-awaited golden moment in the spotlight at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.

The 28-year-old scored his first Premier League goals since the end of December by bagging just a second-ever brace for the Blues.

Very much like London buses, everything came together at once for the centre-forward.

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Romelu Lukaku’s return

Around ten minutes into the second half, Roman Saiss fouled the Belgian inside the area after determined work from the Chelsea player.

Lukaku then stepped up and stuck away his penalty with real confidence.

Photo by Eddie Keogh/Getty Images

Just 120 seconds later, the number nine was celebrating his second of the afternoon.

Wolves gifted possession back to their hosts at Stamford Bridge, who immediately looked to feed their firing attack.

Allowing the ball to roll into his path, Lukaku swept a fine shot past the outstretched palms of Jose Sa into the bottom corner.

A small section of South West London erupted as the net rippled, certain the points had been wrapped up by their club-record signing.

However, their emotions soon changed as Wolves managed to claw themselves back to 2-2 with virtually the last kick of the match.

Thomas Tuchel holds off on the praise

The day should’ve been all about Lukaku. Instead, it was all about Chelsea’s mounting problems.

Hence why Tuchel decided not to speak glowingly about his goal scorer in his post-match interviews.

“Good performance but for sure not the moment to talk about individual performances. We lost points,” he said.

Following a few days of reflection, the German manager explained his reasons for not lauding Lukaku’s contribution.

“When a striker scores two goals which brings you the lead and then increases the lead, then normally there is no way you can leave him out of the next game,” Tuchel explained during his media responsibilities on the eve of the trip to Leeds.   

Photo by Eddie Keogh/Getty Images

“Of course, I wanted to give him more praise for his performance but it simply was not the moment to do so, because the disappointment was huge.

“In the end, it is a team effort and it is a team sport.”

Perhaps the biggest compliment Tuchel can give Lukaku is to start him again at Elland Road this evening.

He hasn’t started successive league fixtures since either side of the Club World Cup.

He also hasn’t scored in successive league fixtures for nearly five months.

Time for Romelu to right his wrongs.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.